The Gilas Pilipinas Women marked their return to the Asian Games with a comfortable 83-59 victory over Kazakhstan at the SX Olympic Gymnasium, Wednesday.
The Gilas Women banked on a huge second quarter to turn what had been a close game into a rout. From a 17-all tie in the first period, the Gilas Women outscored Kazakhstan 23-9 in the pivotal second frame.
This is the first time since the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok that the Philippines has sent a women's team to the basketball competitions.
Veteran guard Janine Pontejos starred in the win with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from long range, while Jack Animam had a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Khate Castillo added 15 points and Afril Bernardino scored 11 to go along with five boards and two assists.
The Gilas Women forced Kazakhstan into 23 turnovers that they turned to 27 points. They also limited their foes to just 33% shooting, including just 5-of-24 from long distance.
The Gilas Women will return to action on Friday against Hong Kong, which suffered a 118-46 loss to Japan in its own opening game.
Meanwhile, the Gilas Pilipinas Men's 3x3 team improved to 3-0 in Pool A after a 21-15 win over Hong Kong, also on Wednesday at the DQ Basketball Court.
A free throw by JR Pasaol with seven seconds left on the clock capped the win for the Filipinos.
Pasaol and Bismarck Lina starred with seven points each for the Gilas 3x3, which will wrap up pool play against powerhouse Mongolia on Friday. The pool winners will directly qualify to the quarterfinals, while the second- and third-ranked teams will have to play cross-pool games.